There’s been a lot of talk recently about the ineptitudes of the Electoral College. Many see it merely as an old artifact of the past, something so hopelessly outdated and irrelevant in today’s modern world that it is surprising to find it still exists.
Though it does have some flaws, that is by no means a reason to do away with it. It is important to remember that the Electoral College does something that a direct democracy in an area as large as the United States could never do: It gives different segments of the whole country some semblance of fair representation, thereby making America a representative democracy as it was intended to be when the Constitution was formed.
The population in the U.S. varies widely, with many sparse, rural areas contrasting with dense, urban ones. Obviously, the denser areas have more of a say in an election because they have more people. However, in a direct democracy, dense areas would be disproportionately influential, since candidates would focus their policies on them in order to get the most bang for their buck.
Sure, in a direct democracy each vote counts, but when areas have small populations, they can become merely become small, insignificant tallies. In the electoral system, these same tallies add together to represent a cohesive region, which amounts for electoral points. Therefore, each region is given a say. When this occurs, the president-elect is more of a representative president because a multitude of regions have input and impact on the election, and while in varying degrees, it clearly is a representative system.
Not only is the system of voting more representative under the Electoral College, but the presidential hopefuls essentially have to pay heed to multiple regions of America to ensure victory. A candidate cannot merely focus on winning over the voters of the major East Coast cities such as New York and Boston and large states like California and Texas. The candidates must take into account and focus on more sets of interests to appeal to voters from all regions. As such, under the electoral system, the president is elected by all the states in union, not just a few.
The Electoral College is by no means perfect. Though not outdated in principle, with a much larger present-day population in the United States, it would perhaps be better suited for the college to use proportional victories with the electoral votes as opposed to winner-take-all. One who wins an area by, say, 1 percent over the other candidate should perhaps not receive 100 percent of the points. This would make the electoral college even more representative by nature, furthering the success it has enjoyed to this point.
The current electoral college system is not flawless, but then again, what system is? If anything, let’s focus on refining it rather than eliminating it.
The writer is an undecided freshman.